JUNE 16, 1948
NEW YORK, Tuesday—The House Ways and Means Committee failed again this year to bring under Social Security, workers such as the self-employed and agricultural and domestic employees. It is deplorable that we cannot devise a system by which agricultural and domestic employees, particularly, can be brought under the Social Security system.
There are a few crumbs thrown to those who wish to enlarge and improve Social Security. For instance, state and municipal employees will be allowed to come under the Federal Social Security system, provided the state and the Federal governments agree on such coverage. In addition, employees of nonprofit organizations and institutions will be allowed to participate. Also, a small number of new people will come under old-age assistance, such as construction and maintenance workers in the Tennessee Valley Authority, off-the-farm processors of fruit and vegetables, and employees of college fraternal organizations. Why this small category should have been singled out is difficult to understand.
It would look as though the Republicans were trying, by handing over these few additions, to make the public feel that they were being very liberal. The public, however, has been too long accustomed to scanning its benefits with a critical eye not to soon make the discovery of what these really amount to.
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With the Republican Convention only a few days away, the last frantic days of the 80th Congress must be devoted to trying to do the things that the leadership considers are essential to bringing them some kind of good feeling. This favorable reaction is sought so that the Republican Presidential nominee will stand a better chance for election.
The nomination seems unpredictable. This is amusing because, as a rule, every candidate before a convention is sure that he is going to be nominated. This year, however, few candidates dare say more than that they hope to win the nomination. Governor Dewey and Senator Taft are nearer to being ready to take up work as campaigners. But all the candidates who have been mentioned have a chance, and a number of them have very good reasons why they should be good choices.
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I am particularly interested in the platform of the two major parties, because from past experience I should expect both platforms to come out of the mill fairly similar. The Republicans, obliged to write theirs first, will certainly attempt to say as little as possible. They will bear in mind that they must give their opponents as few points as possible on which to attack them, and generalities are always safer than specific stands.
The Democrats will follow suit and, though they will be freer to say more than the Republicans, they will see no reason why they should lay themselves open to more criticism. The result will be innocuous documents, I fear. The words may seem to proclaim high ideals for a short period of time, but may not prove to be a ringing statement of principles for which the members of either party will be anxious to make a real fight.